She saw the water-lilly bloom

(A little bit of fiction that might be part of a larger project)

You are pretty sure the man who said the answer to everything is make good art had no idea what he was talking about. You make the tapestry anyway because it’s all you have, and it’s that or throw yourself out of the window. It is not enough to make the tapestry. Not enough to watch the world through a mirror and always be separate from it. But you make good art in the hopes that you’re going to figure out an answer here. As though this mess is a puzzle to be solved.

The only way to know if the curse is real is to test it. There’s a fighting chance that you are trapped here under a misconception and that all you have to do is resist and the nightmare will end. If the curse is real, that choice is death, simply.

Every day your life hangs between the window and the loom. The world you cannot be part of and the pale reflection of life you make with your own hands. It is never enough. Every day so far you’ve chosen the loom, because it is a bit like being alive, and maybe that’s as good as anything can ever be. Perhaps the answer is to learn to live within these limitations and make the best of it. You try to be grateful for what you have, for the colours and textures of threads and for the reflected view of the world. It is something. You are alive and outside your window the seasons turn and you can smell the world even if you can’t touch it.

Today is the other sort of day. The need for sun on skin, and to sink your fingers into the long, damp grasses and down into the soil itself, is so strong it hurts. The need to feel the wind touching your face. To put bare feet into the cool expanse of the river and feel the water moving against your skin. Not to be separate from the world, but to be part of it. 

Today the bigger curse is this chilly, lifeless, lonely room. Today the living death of making sad, pale imitations of dreams is too much to bear. You finally choose to leave, because this half-life that avoids the danger is no life at all and you can no longer bear it.

Is it the curse taking effect? Or is your body so weak from its long imprisoning that your legs can barely hold you up? You find a boat, and you write your name upon it in case someone finds you and wonders. The river takes you, and holds you and carries you. Above, the sky is more beautiful than you remembered, and birds fly across your line of vision, each one of them miraculous in your hungry gaze. The taste of the river is in your mouth and the sensual warmth of the wooden boat is under your fingers. Willows at the river margins, workers voices from the fields. Life embraces you. If this is the end of the story, you regret nothing.

(Based very slightly on Tennyson’s Lady Of Shalott. I was curious as to what might happen without it being about Lancelot)

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

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